High summer and the 5th meeting of the Cornwall Resurgence Group was set to be outside around a fire. Mark arrived first as I was tending the fire and I made him tea while we chatted about gardening. I was showing him around our garden when Simon arrived and I made more tea – from a ‘chocolate mint’ plant from the garden which turned out to be the most delicious mint tea I have ever tasted.
We retired to the top of the garden laden with food. My (not quite vegan) kebabs, Mark’s delicious stew made with home-grown veg and Simon’s mixed fruit crumble warming in the oven.
Finally, for this meeting I had read the right issue of Resurgence, cover to cover. I kicked off with a comment about how I preferred this issue to the last. It is based around storytelling and on opening it I felt all the excitement of having a ‘Christmas Annual’ from a favourite source: the promise before me of favourite authors, lovely illustrations and even a special on Schumacher – a personal ‘hero’.
It didn’t really take and the conversation switched to why there were only 3 of us at the meeting. A couple of people had contacted to say why they couldn’t come and it is quite a small group anyway. Raymond, the artist from Boscastle had died since the last meeting – taken by a nasty cancer. I confessed that I had thought about cancelling the meeting, but didn’t feel it was right. (In fact now I’m not going to cancel it even if it’s just me!)
The conversation evolved into one about Resurgence and its unique demographic in the context of expanding its readership. Our group seems to be very specifically clustered around the 50-ish age group. We share interests in gardening, nature, ecology, ‘slow food’, authenticity and self-awareness, along with an appreciation of arts and crafts, with all of us ‘creatives’ in some sense.
The magazine is integrative in a culture that leans towards specialisation. Its readership has been shrinking in an age where magazines are seen as a luxury and new media is becoming the norm. Although Resurgence is adapting to this and has a strong online presence, neither Mark nor Simon had accessed it due to different media consumption patterns. I suspect that although the magazine is now online, its unique formula has yet to find appeal for younger consumers. But please correct me if I am wrong (comments below).
The conversation moved onto media consumption patterns. We compared notes on laptops, computers, TV and so on – coming to the conclusion that one day all of the channels will be available on just one device that will be too complicated for anyone to work…
But then as the cloak of night settled in around us, we found ourselves inside ‘archetypal time’. Three authentic ‘Resurgence’ blokes, opening ourselves to each other, disclosing personal things about life, the universe and everything. We compared our spiritual values, which were surprisingly diverse, sitting round a fire in the heart of ancient Cornwall. But what was so special is that we were totally accepting of the diversity of each other. There was no ‘my God is better than your God’ here, just a total being in the moment, a sharing and acceptance of each other, a deep relating between men. Time disappeared.
Eventually Mark looked at his watch and found it was midnight and we broke up the meeting as we all had work the next day. But I was left wanting more of this.
This excellent meeting of three male minds round a fire was most unexpected and enjoyable. I also think that this open intimacy of mind between men is at the heart of healing many dis-eases of our culture.
I kept the fire going all next day as a tribute to these fine guys who shared moments – and in memory of Raymond.
Simon Mitchell lives on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall and loves growing things in his garden, then eating them. He writes about ecology issues, makes beautiful websites and publishes books. He also runs a Resurgence Readers’ Group. Pick up his free eco-zine at: http://www.nettlesoup.org.uk/